2017 in Cinema:
The Disaster Artist, 2017
Directed by: James Franco
Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogan, Alison Brie, Ari Graynor, Josh Hutcherson, Jacki Weaver
In 2003 Tommy Wiseau wasn’t getting any notice as an actor so decided to create his own film, and place him as the lead alongside Greg Sestero, his best friend. This film was called The Room. Still being shown in cinemas to this date, The Room has gathered a cult following as the ultimate so-bad-it’s-good filmmaking. The Disaster Artist explores the relatively unknown character of Tommy Wiseau (played by James Franco) and his friendship with Greg (Dave Franco) leading up to and including the creation of The Room, and the audience’s initial reception to it. From Tommy’s sadness at being ignored for film roles to his unlimited finances, The Disaster Artist captures everything known around his life.
We’re in Oscar season at the moment and James Franco delivers a performance worthy of being in the running for Best Actor, as he brilliantly captures the character of Tommy Wiseau, delivering a performance with sadness, excitement, ambition and jealousy, nicely accompanied by his brother Dave, who is okay in playing Greg, although nowhere near as charming. All the rest of the characters are well portrayed, from Seth Rogan’s performance as Sandy, the script-supervisor who turns into an unofficial director due to Tommy’s performing in the film (he also writes, directs and produces the film, so he’s a bit busy) and Ari Graynor who plays Juliette, the actress playing Lisa.
What I loved about this film (being a fan of The Room) is how well it captures the essence of the film. It doesn’t just recreate scenes to make us laugh, but it uses the same technology and same lighting to perfectly recapture nearly it all, while having characters asking questions about the film that not many people know the answer to. And the final scene where it shows The Disaster Artist’s recreation alongside the original The Room is beautiful, and shows how well the creators of this film understand and love The Room as it’s so well-done that it’s almost difficult to spot which is which.
There are a couple of small issues with this film: there’s a scene where Tommy has a cameraman spying on the crew and he watches the film to see them berating him. We are not told about the cameraman before this scene so it comes across as really odd that he has this footage, then the cameraman is forgotten about after Tommy rants against those berating him, and, once again, that’s forgotten about almost instantly. There are a couple of scenes like this where something happens, like the breakup of Greg and Tommy’s friendship and the sacking of the main film crew, yet it ends extremely quickly, not giving us enough time to buy into the situation. And I also wasn’t a fan of the way they wrote Greg into this film; I don’t know too much about him but he came across as a user (he befriends Tommy and almost takes advantage of his money, from moving into LA with him and being in the film) while never being truly thankful for Tommy’s unlimited supply of cash. Only a couple of little niggles in an otherwise entertaining film, especially if you love The Room as it does the film a great justice.
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